Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Blade Is Following the Story

The Big Issue in our controversy here in Montgomery County over the sex ed curriculum has been sexual orientation. Gay people are a distinct minority of the population, and most straight people don't give the topic much of a thought. The typical conversation about homosexuality between straight guys would be something like this:

Joe: Man, I don't see what they see in it.
Moe: Me either, hey look at that chick over there.

You hate to generalize but I think it is safe to say that gay folks would like MCPS to prevail in this curriculum controversy, they'd like to see the school district teach good, objective information, they would prefer the school district's message of empathy, respect, and tolerance to the CRC's message of germs, promiscuity and child-molesting (with all these Republicans and preachers falling out of the closet all over the place, you can't be sure, some of them seem to enjoy being reviled).

Well, whatever, my point is that a lot of the gay groups and the LGBT people out there are keeping track of what's going on with the MCPS sex-ed curriculum. It's not a ground-breaking curriculum -- lots of schools teach about sexual orientation, in fact, and this is actually a pretty conservative curriculum -- but it is a ground-breaking battle. I don't know of any place where the community has stood up to the radicals like they have here, this hard for this long.

The other side has tried to define this as a battle between good Christians and sinful gay people. I myself have been called a "homosexual activist," which just tickles me to no end. It's not about that: this fight is about letting the community decide what kind of values we will support, and not letting some noisy little gang of self-righteous crybabies push everybody around.

I got a call from a reporter at The Washington Blade, the area's main gay-interest newspaper, this last week. We talked a little bit, I see he quoted me. Here's what they've got online:
A court ruled this week that Montgomery County can teach its gay-inclusive sex education lessons.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge William Rowan III on Tuesday denied a request by curriculum opponents to block teachers from presenting the lessons. Supporters said the ruling clears the way for the district to teach the lessons as part of its fall curriculum.

“It looks like it’s going to go to the classroom now,” said Jim Kennedy of Teach the Facts, a coalition of curriculum supporters. “And I’m glad.”

The lessons, titled “Respect for Differences in Human Sexuality,” explain concepts such as sexual identity and orientation to students in grades eight and 10 using what supporters say is nonjudgmental language.Maryland court allows gay-inclusive sex ed lessons: Lessons are titled 'Respect for Differences in Human Sexuality'

Yes, I'm glad. I guess that's a fairly direct and obvious statement. It's been a long time, and remember, we only got into this three years ago, this stupid fight has been going on longer than that.

And again, yes, this should clear the way. The classes will be held this semester.
Opponents have argued the lessons violate laws protecting free speech and religion.

But state officials, in a review earlier this year of the school board’s decision to enact the lessons, said they would “not second guess the appropriateness of the local board’s decision.”

Undeterred by the state’s decision, curriculum opponents appealed their case to Montgomery County Circuit Court.

In a 15-page motion, opponents say the curriculum wrongly teaches that sexual orientation is “innate,” shows “intolerance and hostility toward the ex-gay community,” and fails to note that gender identity disorder is listed as an illness in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Tuesday’s ruling rejected that motion. John Garza, an attorney for curriculum opponents Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum and Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays and Family Leader Network, could not immediately be reached for comment.

(This is an opportunity to flip over to another article, where The Examiner did get hold of a CRC spokesperson, Michelle Turner:
CRC lawyer John Garza could not be reached Tuesday. CRC member Michelle Turner said she was “very surprised” by the ruling considering the state Court of Appeals’ ban on same-sex marriage.

“We may have lost the battle but we are not giving up the war,” Turner said.

You wonder how "surprised" they could be by now, after all these rulings against them.)

Back to The Blade:
But Kennedy said the ruling is yet another blow against curriculum opponents.

“You have to figure, the county-level school board and superintendent approved it, and then it was appealed to the state, and the state school board and state superintendent separately approved it, and then they tried to appeal that, and now the court has said no — they declined to issue a stay,” he said.

“So what is that? About five strikes?”

John Garza tells Fox News it's going all the way to the Supreme Court. Michelle Turner tells The Examiner they're "not giving up on the war."

Look, people, it isn't a matter of giving up any more.


Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

At least we now know what a good Christian is, thanks to Ann Coulter -- it's a Jew who has been converted or disappeared.

October 13, 2007 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Dana. I saw that entire interview with Ann Coulter. To be honest, she did not appear all that sober (like she was intoxicated or on some type of drugs). Well, that is what we hope anyway because no educated human being would say the stupid things she said....Unless her education was a "conservative" one. Sad, sad, sad...and SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on Coulter!

October 13, 2007 7:18 PM  
Blogger RS said...

Listening to a blurb on TV about this (they provided the URL) on local channel 3, I'd have thought that the blog would be less politically-oriented, and more facts-based. Sadly, that isn't the case.

All I want is to be empowered to know what my children (I've 3) are being taught (or what's being proposed to be taught) and be empowered enough to opt out if I want. At my kids' age, I feel they don't need to know yet (yeah, they're in elementary school), but to be honest, I don't even think if they're in high school, they'll be old enough.

Why is that? I just want my kids to go to school and learn an education that will get them a job...when it comes to the worldly issues that a person doesn't really have to know to get a job and work with others without conflict, does a person REALLY have to know they gay lifestyle? Does everyone know the black/white/jew/muslim lifestyle? Probably not, but I know several people who don't agree with the gay lifestyle that work with gays on a professional basis. Its all in how you present yourself. To meet a work-driven mission goal, you don't always have to understand why someone is gay/lesbian/ other words, focus on the mission, put personal feelings aside, and everyone will reap the benefits, vs everyone whining and fighting like kids.

When I can't opt my kids out of a particular course within their school is the day I begin making plans for either home-schooling or private school. It's as simple as that. If I can't be involve in my kids' education at that level, so that I know what they're learning in school is conducive to my family's life, then it's time to change residences...even if it means moving outside of the continental US.

I don't agree with the gay lifestyle, but I do go out of my way to treat gays as if I'd like to be treated. Not everyone is out to get gays...but at the same time, I don't want my pre-teens knowing about that aspect of sexuality yet. I should be able to determine that, not a state or county school system. In fact, I think that I'd do a better job of explaining sex ed to my kids than the county/state...that SHOULD be a home role, IMO.

Anyways, the suggestion is less bias and political chat and more on-topic chat. It will give your site and mission more legitimacy, IMO. I visited for good info and the first link I click on brings me to a blog with a ton of political and anti-straight content. That's not a good way to sell your product...

October 14, 2007 11:14 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

Ron, I really doubt that you found any "political or anti-straight content" here, but whatever.

Your dilemma is easily resolved. When it comes time for your kids to take these classes, don't sign the permission slip. They won't get this information unless you literally sign something asking the school to teach it to them. So in your case, where your particular kids are not able to understand these kinds of facts, I would recommend not signing the slip. Is that too much?


October 14, 2007 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right. No 8th or 10th grade MCPS students may enroll in health classes that cover the topic of human sexuality without parental permission: Currently, whether or not any MCPS students take the classes on human sexuality is 100% their own parents' decision.

During the Spring 2007 field test of this new curriculum, over 91% of eligible MCPS students' parents gave permission. Any MCPS parent who doesn't want their kids to take the class simply needs to not sign the permission slip that is required to attend.

But opting their own kids out of the classes is not enough for the suers. They want the curriculum barred from MCPS so that no parents may give permission for their students to take it. They sued to keep the curriculum from being presented and their attorney said he'd take this case all the way to the US Supreme Court if necessary. The suers not only want to keep their kids from learning what this curricululm teaches (which they can easily do by not signing the permission slip), but they want to force other parents to keep their kids from learning about "respect for difference in human sexuality" in MCPS and across the nation too.

The suers have asked a judge to decree that no parents may decide to enroll their students in this curriculum by barring it from MCPS.

October 14, 2007 12:46 PM  
Blogger Tish said...

Ron, when your kids approach the time when classes on human sexuality are offered, your schools will have a parents information night.

Please go to every one; 5th, 6th,7th, 8th and 10th grades.

If you can't make it, call the principal and tell him or her that you aren't going to be able to come but would like to see the materials. We know that you want to know what is being taught and so does MCPS. At my childrens' elementary school, we watched the videos on puberty that would be shown to the children, we were shown the overhead projection graphics that the kids would be seeing and we were told exactly how the teachers would handle "question day." In our school, the teachers don't read the questions that they can't answer. They also explained to us what it is about a question that makes it off limits. At my sons' middle schools, they had all of the materials, including the complete script for these two lessons on Respect for Differences, with the hand-outs and work sheets included. All of the text books were there. The videos the teachers were planning to screen were there. If you want to know what your children will be taught, it is there for you to find out for yourself. You can also talk to your children's teachers and find out what they will be doing if you don't opt them into the classes. Then you can decide for yourself, after you have read the words, seen the pictures, and met the teacher who will be presenting them.

October 14, 2007 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
Ron, I disagree with your comments-anyone who talks about a gay lifestyle or "white/black/Jewish/Muslim"
lifestyle is saying all groups of people are the same- and to me you are stigmatizing gay people. If you move to MC- you can get the information you want from the school system and you can keep your kids from taking the class. There is no "lifestyle" being taught. If you think there is any way your kids won't know about homosexuality by the time they are in high school, if not much younger- you are not being honest about the world we live in. Moving out of the US- won't make a difference- and homeschooling won't either.

October 14, 2007 2:39 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...


There are very few gay people on this blog, and the few that are aren't "anti-straight." This blog and teachthefacts are run by straight people with an interest in science and fairness.

October 14, 2007 8:15 PM  
Blogger RS said...


I think you're preaching to the wrong person. I didn't say that I was confused or anything. I said that, as a parent, I have the right to be able to see what my kids are learning and to have a right to opt out. When I have to opt out, I'll tell my kids an UNBIASED view of life and sex ed. That's my right.

Please don't be confused with what I'm wanting to provide my kids. In today's world, things can be confusing for a kid. When I was in school (pre-1986), it was confusing enough, and I didn't get ANY sex ed classes. I want to be there for my kids, since my parents weren't there for me. That being said, they don't have to know everything about sex to get a basic understanding of sex, and this is why I'd rather not have to explain to them the gay spin (unless they are concerned that they are gay...I'll deal with that then and not before).

Thanks for your concern, though.

Also, for the rest of you all, thanks for the answers. I knew most of this already. I just wanted you guys to know that not all of the parents out there are biased or bigots, but we've a need to be able to opt out if we are concerned.

Again, thanks!

October 14, 2007 8:31 PM  
Blogger RS said...

Oh, I saw something I didn't see earlier (from Andrea). You need to know that homeschooling will definitely help if I have to take that route. It will help ME. It will empower me to teach how my kids interpret life. If the state or county fails me, I can always fall back on homeschooling. Moving out of a state/country will help too (I've actually done this before). If things get to the point to where the average citizen is repressed by a government, moving will ALWAYS be an option. Remember, our country was founded on immigration.

When I mentioned gays and white/black/jewish/muslim, of course, I was being general. I'm not going to hold a 3 page dialog on that topic. I just wanted to state that each particular minory has issues and that most people at the workplace don't give a crap about how their coworkers lead their lives. Really, why would I care what you/he/she does outside of work? That's all I meant.

October 14, 2007 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron said: “I don't agree with the gay lifestyle, but I do go out of my way to treat gays as if I'd like to be treated.”

If that’s true, then you may want to consider referring to gay persons, as gay persons, rather than characterizing us as a “lifestyle” to be agreed with or not.

The term “gay lifestyle” is notoriously known for being anti-gay code for choice, as in “lifestyle choice,” and NOT for describing same-gender attraction in and of itself. And thanks to the anti-gay folk, it also implies an inherent propensity toward promiscuity. I’m not saying that’s what you meant, but please know that the term is highly insulting.

Lifestyles are chosen. Do you consider who you are – as a heterosexual – to be a matter of “agreeing” with the “heterosexual lifestyle?”

If you truly believe that gay persons are just confused heterosexuals, or that same-gender attraction is a chosen “lifestyle,” but opposite-gender attraction is not, so be it, say so. But please don’t hide behind the rubric of “I don’t agree with the gay lifestyle” in the attempt to do so.

Again, not that you intended to characterize all gay persons as being promiscuous or having chosen their same-gender attraction, but if your intent is to come across as non-biased and non-bigoted, it’s something you should be aware of.

October 15, 2007 3:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"just say so"

Gay persons are just confused heterosexuals.

Same-gender attraction is a chosen “lifestyle.”

Hey, I don't agree with the gay lifestyle. More gays are promiscuous and to a greater extent than normal people and have chosen what to be attracted to.

That's not biased because it's true.

How's that, Mr. Improv?

October 15, 2007 7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, Officer Krupke,
We're down on our knees,
'Cause no one wants a fellow with a social disease.
Gee, Officer Krupke,
What are we to do?
Gee, Officer Krupke,
Krup you!

October 15, 2007 8:10 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...


Sorry, but your take on sex-ed will not be unbiased, either. It will be YOUR take, and as a parent you're entitled to it. I would assume most parents take an interest in their children's education on many levels. Each one brings a unique perspective, which is the point.

I didn't like the way my kids were taught algebra, so I supplemented it, as did their grandmother, a math teacher. I don't like the way my son is being taught organic chemistry, either, so I'm helping him through it. As for sex-ed, I obviously bring a very unique perspective on that, so my children have had a far richer education than virtually all others. And that is a good thing.

As Aunt Bea has pointed out, you have access to the entire curriculum, and you must opt-in. It can't get any easier than that.

I don't understand, however, how you get from 90 minutes of sex-ed to a fear of government repression serious enough to cause you to flee the country?

October 15, 2007 8:12 AM  
Blogger Tish said...

Ron, if one of your core values in education is that you want your children to learn to work with others, and if you want them to learn to treat others the way they want to be treated, then you will probably be very happy with the two new 8th grade and two new 10th grade classes, because that is just what they are about. They don't say squat about anyone's lifestyle, not even the people who choose to live in the suburbs and get their best sellers from the public library. What the classes say is that everyone is a person, and that we damage people when we bully,judge and stereotype. The curriculum specifically says that stereotyping is wrong for any reason, including stereotyping people for their beliefs.

October 15, 2007 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"just say so"

Anonymous said...
“Gay persons are just confused heterosexuals.

Same-gender attraction is a chosen “lifestyle.”

Hey, I don't agree with the gay lifestyle. More gays are promiscuous and to a greater extent than normal people and have chosen what to be attracted to.

That's not biased because it's true.

How's that, Mr. Improv?”

Perfect. Absolutely, absolutely perfect. I can officially respect your honesty. Thank you.

P.S. How does the new spine feel?

P.P.S. What took you so long?

October 15, 2007 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, for crying out loud, Mr./Mrs./Ms/Dr.(?) Anonymous Troll Sockpuppet: You say the most repellent, puerile, and outlandish things and think you can get away with your ludicrous mud-slinging here! (Anonymous said...
"Gay persons are just confused heterosexuals." (Comment: that statement wins the blue ribbon prize for the most egregious statement.)
"Same-gender attraction is a chosen “lifestyle.” (Comment: almost funny if it weren't so weird.)

"Hey, I don't agree with the gay lifestyle. More gays are promiscuous and to a greater extent than normal people and have chosen what to be attracted to."

But...keep saying these bizarre things; they only expose you for what you are: a totally pathetic and obviously poorly-educated bigot and homophobe. And you consider yourself "normal"? Eeek!

October 15, 2007 9:14 AM  

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